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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  November 24, 2011 2:00am-3:00am EST

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still not convinced? then herman cain has a question for you. >> have you ever been accused, sir -- >> i'm trying to -- >> have you ever been accused of sexual harassment. good evening. thanks for joining us for the next hour. i'm melissa harris perry. rachel has the night off. if you were watching the republican party's foreign policy debate in washington last night, you may have caught what happened at the very end of the evening. the last question of the night was, which national security issue do you wish we'd ask you about. what's the thing that worries you the most that hasn't been discussed tonight? the responses given by the
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of a head-turner last night when newt gingrich said it would be wrong for the supposedly pro-family gop to tear families apart and ship people who have been here for decades back to their native countries. in other words, amnesty. in today's republican party, that's heresy. that's either the white cap on newt's wave or another twist in his unpredictable rise to the top of the gop field. and here's the biggest reason newt is getting so much attention. after about five years of campaigning, roughly
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three-quarters of republicans still want little to do with mitt romney. romney is lining up endorsements but where's the love? can newt or some other dark horse actually break through and win republican minds as well as hearts? plus, if it seems as if there's no room for compromise in congress anymore, here's why. three decades ago, 60 of 100 senators were considered to be moderates. people who would compromise with the other side. today that number is zero. who is to blame, the senators or we the people who vote them in? also, the penn state investigation with new alleged victims coming forward and more indicated that there were signs of trouble for a long time. why wasn't something done sooner? and putting on the blitz. wolf blitzer has one of the best known names in television news, but don't tell that to herman cain. you can check out "the
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sideshow." we start with newt gingrich. jonathan alter is an msnbc political analyst and michael scherr is the white house correspondent for "time" magazine. here's this from last night's debate getting the most attention and it's newt gingrich on illegal immigrants who have been in the country for years. >> if you've been here for 25 years, three kids and two grandkids, you've been paying taxes and obeying the law, i don't think we should uproot you forcefully and kick you out. i don't see how the party that says they are the party of the family is going to adopt an immigration policy which destroys families that have been here a quarter century, and i'm prepared to take the heat for saying let's be humane in enforcing the law without giving them citizenship but by finding a way to create legality so that they are not separated from
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their family. >> governor? >> michael, he says he's prepared to take the heat. what is the extent of the heat? what's the net effect? >> well, there's going -- there's national heat and state heat. newt gingrich's path to the presidency is to do very well in iowa. a state like iowa is different from the national republican party. immigration is looked at differently. they're much more hawkish on it than they are elsewhere. and i think he will be heard in iowa in the coming weeks as we see polls. what's interesting about this answer. this wasn't new for newt. newt's been saying this all year. in may he was on univision giving a very similar answer. what's new is now he's the front-runner and people are actually looking closely at his record so people have been perking up in a way they didn't perk up before. >> jonathan, i've grown
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accustomed to analyzing the republican debates and said well, that sound bite is okay in the primary season but it will be a killer in the general election. this is a complete reverse, what newt gingrich said on that stage in washington, d.c. last night. it's the sort of thing that i think a republican needs to say to win independents in the fall but we're unaccustomed to it. >> absolutely, and in order to save the republican party long term because, you know, the latino vote is the growing constituency in the united states, and the republican party has been until this moment so hostile to the aspirations of latinos that they real very no chance to get any sizable number from the fastest growing segment of the electorate. but having said that, we have to understand that gingrich's position is still significantly to the right of where president
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bush was and newt gingrich and john mccain and the entire democratic party when it came to comprehensive immigration reform. this bill essentially creates second class citizenship for these immigrants. it's entirely unworkable if you think it through a little bit. >> did you pay attention to the hypothetical, 25 years, two kids, three grandkids and here's what i underscored in the notes i made, church, you've got to be a churchgoer in order for this to go, the tip of the hat for conservatives in iowa to try to keep them in the tent. this is completely unrealistic. >> he wants to create a new selective service board, he said, to determine whether you've gone to church, whether you've had a job for 6 of the 12 years you've been here or 5 of the 12 years. are they allowed to appeal it to court? we've never had second class citizens before in the united states. and this sounds humane. >> but what i want to say what is equally unrealistic is the notion we'll ship 10 million, 15 million people out of the united states. that's never going to happen. >> that's completely ludicrous. the core position that the republican party has right now so newt has moved away from that, entirely ridiculous ludicrous idea of deporting 15
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million people to something that is slightly less crazy but still unworkable. >> michael, watch this. the opponents, no surprise, quickly jumped on his comment. i'll show you michele bachmann and mitt romney. >> i think the speaker just said that that would make 11 people -- 11 million people who are here illegally now legal. that's really the issue that we're dealing with, and also it would be the dream act, the federal dream act, which would offer taxpayer-subsidized benefits toil legal aliens. we need to move away from magnets, not offer more. >> amnesty is a magnet. what -- what we've had in the past programs that have said that people who come here legally are going to get to stay legally for the rest their life, that's going to only encourage more people to come here illegally. >> michael, go ahead and break down what you just saw. who is the net winner from that exchange in last night's debate? >> i think romney will probably win in the short term. what's interesting is romney's actual position here is not that far from newt's position. it's just the way he's packaging that position. he's against amnesty. bumper sticker line amnesty is a magnet. we can't have amnesty. but in past statements, in the current -- in the last campaign in 2008, he wasn't for deporting 11 million or 12 million people. he was for allowing them to get back in the line, touching base in their home country and starting a process where these people could become citizens, and there was a point in the
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debate last night where he almost admitted this. you saw him pull back from it. michele bachmann is a different thing. she tends to stick, you know, with the bumper sticker and not go beyond that. she's someone, remember, just a few months ago was arguing that we should not raise the debt ceiling and it would be good for the country. >> jonathan, this was the beginning of the end for rick perry, and i recognize there was a lot more going on relative to his candidacy, but it was in that debate where he was confronted with the news that he had provided educational benefits for children of illegals, like he would for an in-state resident that this all took a turn. will this take a turn for newt gingrich? >> i really don't think it is. if the freddie mac connection, you know, where he wanted barney frank to go to jail for his connections to freddie mac and it turned out gingrich had taken $1.6 million from freddie mac and it didn't seemed to have
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hurt him, i don't think this will either. the reason perry got hurt, a, it was scholarships for illegals, which is -- which is, you know, much more inflammatory than what we're talking about here and, b, it came in the context of his just melting down in these debates, not being ready for primetime, so i wouldn't be too quick to say that he'll go the perry route, and i also do think that -- that it's important to understand, you know, what romney is doing here. what his essential position is. i don't know how it's going to play politically, but we should be clear about what romney is saying. he thinks if you're an engineer and an immigrant you should get a green card stapled to your -- to your visa so you can stay. >> allow me to show another from my highlight reel because i've got to get to afghanistan. no love lost between governors romney and huntsman and here's an exchange they had on u.s. troop levels. let's listen. >> governor huntsman, do you agree with governor romney, that
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the u.s. has to stay in afghanistan at these levels? >> no, i totally disagree. i think we need to square with the american people about what we've achieved. we need an honest conversation in this country about the sacrifices that have been made over nearly ten years. we haven't done a very good job defining and articulating what the end point is in afghanistan, and i think the american people are getting very tired about where we find ourselves today. >> are you suggesting, governor, that we just take all our troops out next week, or what's -- >> did you hear what i just said? i said we should draw down from 100,000. we don't need 100,000 troops. >> i stand with the commanders in this regard. pulling our troops out fast would do anything but put at great peril the extraordinary sacrifice that's been made. this is not time for america to cut and run. >> at end of the day the president of the united states is commander in chief, commander in chief.
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of course, you're going to listen to the generals, but -- but i also remember when people listened to the generals in 1967, and we heard a certain course of action in southeast asia that didn't serve our interests very well. >> michael cherrer, i thought that was a high point in the debate for jon huntsman on a pretty good night for jon huntsman. >> absolutely. >> and maybe i'm reading too much into this, but it was a conservative crowd. everybody from heritage got to ask a question, except some of the interns, and if jon huntsman was getting applause lines for talking about a more appropriate to us troop withdrawal from afghanistan, that really talks about where the nation has moved on that issue, does it not? >> no, that's right. there are two things that stuck out at me. first, the romney position in afghanistan is the obama position. romney was out there saying i support what obama is doing. i want to continue what obama is doing, which is really striking coming from mitt romney whose
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entire campaign is based on the notion that obama is failing at everything he's doing, including foreign policy. second, that was the first time, and we've had 11 debates, they have been in them together, probably eight of these debates, that huntsman has been able to get under mitt romney's skin. mitt romney, you know, laid back position towards huntsman is, you know, when it -- when he says something to me i'll say that's fine and move on because he doesn't matter. huntsman needs to be able to rattle romney, to get under romney's skin because his only path to anything right now is through new hampshire, and right now that's mitt romney's state. >> jonathan, i think mitt romney violated an attorney's cardinal rule last night. he asked a question that he didn't know the answer to. he actually set up jon huntsman by asking him what exactly is your proposal, and that's where huntsman was able to tee off. >> well, also romney is using the old playbook, the old
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republican playbook with words like cut and run, trying to make is t seem somehow if you don't, quote, listen to the commanders in the field, that's the bush line, and i actually disagree with michael a little bit. i don't think that's really the obama line. i think romney is teeing up a possible attack on obama forgetting out of afghanistan too quickly in the fall, in the general election. i don't think it's a smart strategy for romney because the country has moved on. it's not the same hawkish mood. >> can i just make a point. the reason i began this conversation by saying the huntsman applause shows me where the country has moved. >> right. >> is exactly what you said a moment ago. >> i can remember that to ask on radio whether we should get out of iraq or afghanistan was heresy and i'd be inundated with callers saying you're not being supportive of troops as if to somehow plan for their safe return was not to have their best interest at heart, those days are over. >> absolutely. >> so we're in a new era here, and it's an example of what you might call an overpander by romney. you know, he's pandering on an issue that people don't want to be pandered to anymore. namely war. >> go ahead, michael, final comment from you. >> romney is also fighting the 2008 he lost on national in 2008 he lost on national security to john mccain. he was perceived in that debate
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to be more dovish than mccain. he's not going to make that mistake again. he wants to be on the more hawkish end of this debate. >> thank you both. have a great thanksgiving. >> thank you, you, too. >> after five years of campaigning, mitt romney hasn't budged much over 25% in the polls. he's winning high-profile endorsements, but why can't he win over more republican voters? that's aad. you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc.
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here's a headline you'll no doubt hear from president obama soon. a report by the congressional budget office finds that 2009's stimulus bill added as many as 3.3 million jobs to the economy. the report also says the economy would have been much worse without the much criticized stimulus. the republican congress and those running for president blast the $800 billion bill as a waste of taxpayer dollars. but the non-partisan cbo report says unemployment would be much higher and economic growth much lower without it. we'll be right back.
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welcome back to heche. as gop candidates have risen and fallen in the polls, mitt romney has remained steadily near the top, but he's been unable to build his support too high. look at the latest polls out this week. a cnn opinion research survey shows romney at 20%, quinnipiac says 22%, "usa today" and gallup
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say 21%. but he remains stuck behind the current front-runner, newt gingrich. what's going on? why is so much of the republican electorate still wary of mitt romney? does it have to do with his mormon faith, and if they plan on backing him, what are they waiting for? richard wolffe is an msnbc political analyst and joe williams is the white house correspondent for politico. is a better description, richard, that he's doing steadily, or is he static, because there's a difference between the two? >> well, if you talk to some pollsters actually his numbers are slightly declining, and the problem for romney, apart from not having numbers that really blow it out here, is that expectations are way higher than his numbers are, and that sets up this really difficult dynamic where you have the conventional wisdom for all the political insiders saying this guy is the inevitable nominee, and yet you look at those early states, look at his national numbers, and they are just not as strong as
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expectations are. that leaves you to some real problems in those early weeks and months of the primary. >> joe, he's not winning primary season, but he's surviving primary season. in the end, isn't that enough to capture the nomination? >> well, in most cases surviving advances the strategy that you want to go for. make it to the end, don't screw up. and i think he's kind of in that mode a little bit here, but what's going on now reminds me a lot of what happened in -- in massachusetts in the early 2000s, if you will, when he was coming out as the -- as the candidate for the republican nomination for governor. there were a lot of people who weren't quite in love with him, but he tried to make his nomination seem inevitable, and he ended up doing that because there was a very weak incumbent, jane swift, and shoving her aside or big-footing her caused her a lot of headaches and some consternation so not a lot of love with mitt romney among women then but seems to have
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made amends for that now. >> richard, will we exhaust more dance partners? it's like a wave, i've been saying, going at different times from trump, to palin, to bachmann, to cain to perry, to newt, anybody? will it go to santorum or huntsman? >> from newt's experience you can have two times around so maybe rick perry -- >> i thought you were going to say three times around. >> you know, there is obviously a lot of volatility. there is an anti-establishment mood though, and i think that's part of why the dynamic is changing so quickly, so, you know, gingrich can hold on to this as long as he seems somewhat unconventional. as soon as he becomes the former house speaker, he's in trouble, and i think that's romney's problem, too. as long as he is trying to play the conventional route, go to the general election strategy, talk about obama, not anyone else, that's a problem. people want the fire in the belly, the volatility, the anti-washington mood, and romney's just looking too conventional. >> joe williams, listen to this.
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former arkansas governor mike huckabee was interviewed over the weekend on a conservative radio program, not endorsing any candidate yet, but he urged conservatives not to turn their backs on romney if he wins the nomination. let's listen. >> it would be real tragic if they stayed out because mitt romney may not be their first choice, but mitt romney every day of the week and twice on sunday is going to be a much more effective president for issues that they care about than barack obama, and i think sometimes there is this anxiety within the republican party of who is the perfect candidate. the answer is there isn't one. >> and then in a similar vain, here's what ann coulter wrote every week. everyone knows that the nominee is going to be romney. that's not so bad if you think the most important issues in this election are defeating obama and repealing obamacare. joe williams? >> it seems like any time you have to have mike huckabee apologizing for you saying, really, come on, guys, get with the program here, and you have
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an incumbent president who they are so dying to defeat that they want something to get excited about, it speaks kind of trouble to the excitability and to the connectability that romney is presenting for -- for some republicans. so i think that part of what's happening here is he doesn't have that kind of hope, change excitement that president obama brought to the 2000 campaign. he's got the workman-like kind of approach and appeal that is supposed to make a difference and he can appeal to moderates, but really he's having trouble connecting to the base and that's a big, big problem. if he makes it to the general election, he's fine, but he's got all these challengers, coming one right after the other and who is up next may determine whether or not he's able to continue on that pace and -- and make it to the -- to the nomination. >> richard, i think he's run a pretty flawless campaign so far. in the debates he's been strong in each one, though last night perhaps was just half a step off his game. so far one of romney's only possible missteps was his use of this incredibly untruthful ad about president obama. let's listen. >> right. >> thank you, new hampshire. how is everybody doing today?
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i am confident that we can steer ourselves out of this crisis. who has been in charge of the economy? we need a rescue plan for the middle class. we need to provide relief for homeowners. it's going to take a new direction. if we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose. >> and then as has been well documented obama was quoting john mccain, and here's what he actually said. >> senator mccain's campaign actually said, and i quote, if we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose. >> and everybody has been zaprudering that tape this week and some are offering justifications as to why this was ingenious on the part of the romney -- here's what i keep asking. there's so much tape out there about barack obama, surely you could have found something without splicing it creatively. >> the case on obama doesn't need this overreach and desperation. that's what it is, it's a lie, and the justification that the romney folks come up with that it got lots of attention and the press secretary of the white
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house is talking about it. you know, can you take off your clothes and run down the street and get attention. that's not the right strategy if you want to project a guy who can walk into the oval office, and the question is why does he have to do this? why is he feeling the need to change the subject and move to a general election strategy, and that's because he's -- he's polling 20, 21 points in this race. he needs to do something dramatic and change the subject. the referendum about romney does not work for him. referendum about obama might just do it for him, but honestly, he needs a better ad if he's going to hold on to those moderates and independents who don't like politics as usual. >> joe? >> he's not a dramatic guy though. it seems like it's not in his dna to do something dramatic and swing for the fences. i mean, that's not who he is, so he's got to kind of do these sort of maneuvers to get that kind of attention and to try to build excitability and inevitability to get -- to get the attention of the base voters
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and try to make it out of the primary. >> let me have you comment on what governor romney said today explaining he's not a career politician. >> i'm in this race not because it's the next step in my political career. i don't have a political career. i was only governor four years. i didn't inhale, all right? i'm still a business guy. >> does it work? can he fashion himself as a businessman and not as a politician, particularly in light of the fact that he's been running for this job now for so many years? >> well, and that's the thing. i think jane swift would disagree, the former republican governor of massachusetts who he ended up supplanting. i think she would disagree that mitt romney is not a politician because during that time in the early 2,000s it was very, very clear that mitt romney was trying to set himself up, not only for governor but to go beyond that, and as you mentioned he's been running for president the last couple of years. that's a label that's a little -- that's a designation that's a little difficult to shake, and i don't know if he can do that successfully. >> thank you richard, thank you, joe williams. up next, we've seen herman cain get tongue-tied before but see how he mangled the name of the moderator in last night's debate. that's next in the sideshow.
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back to "hardball." now for "the side show." first up, tongue-tied. that's just what happened to republican candidate herman cain at one point during last night's cnn debate. cain got so wrapped up in responding to a question on airport security, that he mistakenly gave a new nickname to moderator wolf blitzer. let's see how that unfolded.
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>> no, blitz, that's oversimplifying it. i happen to believe that if -- if you allow our intelligence agencies to do their job, they can come up with an approach -- i'm sorry, blitz, i meant wolf, okay. blitz, wolf. since we're on a blitz debate. i apologize. wolf? >> thank you, cain. >> at least wolf blitzer managed to sneak in a zinger of his own at the end. next up, things may be pretty quiet on capitol hill leading into the holiday weekend, but president obama set aside some time today for yet another executive order, sort of. today the president took part in an annual tradition of, wait for it, turkey pardoning. you think the president chose to mark the occasion without a not so subtle jab at congress? see for yourself. >> tomorrow is one of the best days of the year to be an american, but it's also one of the worst days of the year to be a turkey. they don't have it so good. some of you may know that recently i've been taking a series of executive actions that don't require congressional approval. well, here's another one.
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we can't wait to pardon these turkeys, literally. you are hereby pardoned. >> it might be the easiest thing that he's done all year. you want to know which president kicked off this tradition? well, there's some speculation, but we do know that in 1963 president kennedy became the first to publicly spare a turkey from ending up under a drizzle of gravy. the official ceremony, however, started with bush 41. and speaking of thanksgiving, 'tis the season for holiday travel, and that's just what led to a coincidental encounter at reagan national airport this morning. guess who was heading out for thanksgiving? you can ask nbc correspondent tom costello. he dished out some travel tips at the d.c. airport for the "today" show. here's your hint. it's usually his face you're looking at right now. >> guess who just walked in who is on his way to thanksgiving. chris matthews is here. where are you going? >> i'm going to nantucket.
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>> nantucket. >> yes. >> which is appropriate for you. >> yes. we have those roots and i think joe biden is up there all the time this time of year. >> have fun. >> at least i'm reporting on that. >> thank you very much. >> not exactly your average man on the street interview right there. happy thanksgiving to chris in nantucket, and i hope he didn't run into any traffic snafus, like that. up next, the penn state investigation. more alleged victims are coming forward, and there were signs of trouble for a long time. how did this go on for so long? you're watching "hardball," only you're watching "hardball," only on msnbc. the perfect pushup, the perfect situp re-invents the situp by combining the upper ab crunch with the lower ab leg lift. then the perfect situp adds an audible coach. you'll hear a click when you've done the exercise correctly. you hear it and you'll feel it. it's this one-two punch
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welcome to "hardball." "the patriot news" newspaper in harrisburg said there -- their are two new potential victims in the case under investigation. these new allegations reinforce the lingering sense that more should have been done to prevent the alleged attacks and done sooner. michael isikoff is nbc's national investigative correspondent, former democratic pennsylvania governor ed rendell is now an msnbc political analyst. michael isikoff, what's the latest from happy valley? >> well, the latest in the wake of that report yesterday from "the patriot news" is that the lawyer for jerry sandusky confirms that at least one of those alleged new cases, one of those new cases involving
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alleged child abuse involves a family member of sandusky and a minor child. we cannot -- we're constrained by nbc news policy about saying too much more about that because we can't say anything that identifies a minor child, but this is coming from sandusky's own lawyer saying that his understanding is that the -- that at least one of those allegations comes from a family member of sandusky, and he also points -- he also is very emphatic that sandusky adamantly denies the allegation of child abuse. also another development just in the last few minutes. the lawyer for victim number four, victim number four is the young boy who was taken to the alamo bowl in texas by sandusky and -- and another bowl game in florida and alleges that he was abused, has filed a motion with the court to enjoin the second mile charity from selling any of
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its assets. that's clearly a sign, he's saying he's trying to protect his client's interests, clearly a sign that there's going to be lawsuits ahead and they will involve the second mile. watch the second mile. that's the charity that jerry sandusky filed. they are right in the middle of this, and all the children that jerry sandusky is alleged to have abused came from second mile programs. he met them through the charity programs. >> governor rendell, i want to ask you a question about your successor. look, the msnbc audience knows you as the chief executive of the state. i need to remind everybody you were the district attorney of philadelphia. you were a very successful prosecutor, wand that in mind i want to show you a rudimentary timeline that we've created which draws attention to the fact that it was in january of 2009 that victim number one, as he's known to the grand jury report, then age 15, came forward. the report went from the clinton county d.a. to the center county
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d.a. and then was referred to the pennsylvania attorney general's office. tom corbett was the attorney general. "the patriot news" is reporting that for the first 15 months of the investigation there was only one state trooper assigned to this case, and it was not until november of this year, this month, that sandusky was finally arrested, and so many at home and across the country are now asking why the delay and were there sufficient resources committed by the attorney general's office to this investigation? >> well, michael, that's a hard question for me to answer. i would assume for a moment that "the patriot news" story is correct, and, you know, we can't always assume that, but "the patriot news" is a really good newspaper and i'll assume for the moment that the story is correct. you don't know what evidence the grand jury was dealing with, what evidence the attorney general, now governor corbett was dealing with, so it's hard to answer without knowing the
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inner workings, but let me say this. the one thing we do know, everyone who has been in law enforcement, prosecutors, police, is that pedophiles are recidivistic and do it again and again until either they are stopped by prison or subjected to serious treatment. that should have put everyone on the system on alert to do something about this as quickly as possible. dating back to 1998 when the center county d.a., roy grikar, later disappeared, when he declined to prosecute because it was a weak case, try the case, out the guy. just think how many children would have been saved if jerry sandusky had been outed in 1998, and that goes for joe paterno, president spanier, everybody. if they had brought it to the authorities in 2002 after the revelation about the alleged rape in the shower, think of all the kids that would have been saved. and it's also true now if the process, if the grand jury had moved more quickly. think of these two kids, probably wouldn't have been
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subjected to abuse because sandusky would have been in jail. >> governor, i'm going to say a word that might not register with the national audience but it will with you, bonusgate. there was a tremendous commitment of resources to a probe of corruption in government, very legit, but, you know, in hindsight you now say, geez, i wonder how many state troopers were working the bonusgate case instead of working the sandusky case, and as you just said perhaps with a little more fire lit under this investigation we would have spared some children from being victimized. i think that's a fair question. >> right, and i think in fairness those are questions, michael, that should be put to governor corbett directly, because, again, he knows what was going on. he knows the challenges that his office was facing, but i -- look, there's no question that everyone in this process, from grekar to the penn state officials to my good friend joe paterno, to everyone in this process, didn't act swiftly
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enough, didn't act courageously enough. why this happened, when you look at, it's just unbelievable how every step of the way the proper action wasn't taken quickly enough or forthrightly enough, and we have children's lives who may be ruined. >> now governor corbett, former attorney general corbett this week, defended the investigation. let's all listen to what he's saying. >> in a case i believe with pedophiles who do it more than once, and i've never heard one doing it once, you don't want to go with just one case, you want to show the continued course of action. if you were to lose that one case and then continue to investigate the other cases, it would be much more difficult to bring the charges because it would be seen by you, by the public, as vindictive. >> michael isikoff, what occurs to me as an attorney as i watch that explanation is that if there had been an arrest of sandusky sooner as opposed to later, it, too, would have brought victims out of the woodwork in the same way that
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we're seeing now. i think there are going to be a lot more civil actions filed because people feel the strength to come forward when they know that finally the law is taking a look at this issue. >> no question. sure, but it's also worth pointing out that a prosecutor has an obligation only to bring a case that he believes he can win a conviction, and if he doesn't believe he has enough evidence, i mean, he's ethically obligated not to bring that case. >> wait a minute. if he believes victim number one is credible, he has an obligation to arrest the person who victimized victim number one so as to spare every victim who would follow him. >> michael, if i can jump in, if he believes victim number one is credible but wants to build multiple cases then put more investigators on it. >> michael isikoff, final thought? >> yeah. i think piecing together what happened in this investigation at what point investigators learned about which of the victims and when they learned
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about the earlier '98 police investigation will be key to answering this question and very key to governor corbett's political future, because a lot of people are going to be asking these questions. >> thank you both. thank you, michael isikoff and thank you, governor ed rendell. >> up next, congress can't get anything done and can't compromise. here's why. 30 years ago 60 of 100 senators were considered moderate. today they are all gone. whose fault is that, theirs or the voters who put the partisans in office? that's ahead. by the way you can follow me on twitter if you can spell smerconish. this is "hardball" only on msnbc.
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florida's loss is california's gain, and now federal dollars that were once
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earmarked to build high-speed rail in the sunshine state are heading west. that's because florida's new republican governor rick scott turned down the funding saying the money would be better served in the hands of taxpayers, but the money was already allocated to the department of transportation which turned around and invested a chunk of it in high-speed rail for california. we'll be right back.
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cords and found that moderates the senate elected in 1982 had 80 moderates.
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senators who might vote either way on tough issues, but that number dropped nearly in half to 36 moderates after the 1994 elections, and then dropped even more dramatically to just 9 after the 2002 vote. until finally last year, no moderates left in the senate. joining me now to talk more about this is matt cooper, the editor of "the national journal daily." matt, i remember talking to ron brownstein about this survey a year ago. so that people understand what you do, you've been doing this for three decades. you track votes which are capable of saying this is how a liberal would vote. this is how a conservative would vote, and you call them as you see them. >> that's exactly right, michael. i mean, what we do is we track them over type. we look at their votes, and then you're able to make generalizations about the congress itself and just as you said in the introduction, the moderates are endangered species, if not extinct.
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>> what causes it? >> i think it's a bunch of things. some of it is redistricting, just getting elected from districts that are more and more partisan and need not be moderate and can't generate moderates. some are the interest groups that pound on these guys to tow the party line even when the districts are moderate. we found lots of republicans, for instance, in the last cycle coming from pretty moderate districts but voting conservative down the line because they're too afraid of a primary challenge or getting clobbered in ads. >> isn't it also a polarized media world? aren't many of them taking queues from behind microphones? >> definitely. you have a coarsening of the culture. you have more partisan media that encourages it so people can stovepipe their messages to their own people. all in all it's not unlike the situation that ronald reagan faced when he got to washington. there were tons of republican that is are more liberal. you had john hines and arlen specter from pennsylvania where
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you are and democrats from john stennis from mississippi. >> you had jacob javits, a republican in the senate. >> exactly. lots of conservative democrats, lots of liberal republicans. there was at least a more robust chance of getting things done. now you get a thing like the super committee and everybody is pretty much pre programmed. that's why they spend four months in a room and get nothing. >> here is the real question. do they reflect where the country is headed? i maintain if you look at data, you see the largest group of voters are independents. that's the largest growing group of voters. are they out of sync or are the voters out of sync? what's going on here. >> you hit on the key word which is voters. it's all about who shows up to vote. if the people who show up in those primaries are partisan, then you're not going to get the moderates coming out of the primaries into the general election. you know, unless this sort of silent majority of moderates shows up at the polls, you get more of the same.
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>> matt, here is an example of how undiplomatic things have become on capitol hill. let's take a look at this exchange of doug brown of alaska and historian don brinkley last week. >> this side has already made up its mind. and -- i call it garbage dr. rice. >> dr. brinkley, rice is a university. >> i'll call it anything you want while you sit in that chair. you just be quiet. >> you don't own me. i pay your salary. >> the gentleman will suspend and i'll remind members and i'll remember -- >> i work for the private sector. you work for the tax -- >> mr. brinkley. >> matt that kind of behavior has become commonplace. that's what we're accustomed to seeing. >> you've got more and more of that. there used to be social compacts, that you wouldn't use the debt ceiling to put a gun to the head of the country. you wouldn't filibuster judicial nominees en masse. both parties have crossed the line. i think republicans have taken a step further in the past few years by being much more
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promiscuous by the use of filibusters in the senate. that has driven this partisan wedge. >> you used the word social. i think that's part of the problem. it used to be they'd lift a glass with one other. now they scurry home on thursdays, don't come back until tuesdays because they need to go home and raise money. in any event, a fascinating survey. i look forward to it every year even though it depresses me. thank you for your time, matt cooper. >> thank you, michael. >> when we return, let me finish with accountability and why we need members of congress to tell us how they would cut the debt. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. [ female announcer ] have you met your skin twin? covergirl trublend has skin twin technology. other makeup can sit on your skin, so it looks but trublend has skin twin technology to actually merge with your skin. how easy breezy beautiful is that? trublend...from covergirl. the progresso chicken noodle you made is so good. it's got tender white meat chicken. the way i always made it for you. one more thing.... those pj's you like, i bought you five new pairs. love you.
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permit me a final word tonight about accountability. today was to have been the date by which the super committee put forth a plan to cut the debt. they failed to reach an accord triggering an automatic $1.2 trillion in cuts beginning perhaps in 2013. this was the third attempt at averting a national crisis. simpson-bowles was the first. after about a year of invested time that bipartisan commission which was comprised of 18 members, could not get the requisite 14 votes to force congressional action on their recommendations. one year ago next month, the commission co-chairs released their draft recommendations and no stone was left unturned, no
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special interest left unscarred. their recommendations were described as a list of the third rail issues of american politics. federal workers were to be cut. the cost of participating in veterans and military health care increased. the age of social security eligibility raised, the defense department budget slashed. simpson-bowles would also have reformed the tax code in ways often contemplated by washington but never accomplished. many longstanding tax credits and deductions would have been eliminated. after the failure of simpson-bowles, president obama and speaker boehner attempted to work out a grand bargain. it was reported at the time that the two sides forged common ground on a two-stage strategy for raising the debt limit and cutting more than $4 trillion out of the federal budget through 2021. reportedly that plan would have included unprecedented cuts in agency spending including at the pentagon and significant changes to medicare and social security, the biggest drivers of future
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borrowing which is quite a major concession for obama and the democrats to have made. but those negotiations collapsed last july and quickly degenerated into finger pointing. as a result, efforts to increase the debt ceiling were thrown into chaos. it was the subsequent debt ceiling negotiations that gave rise to the super committee which is how we've come full circle back to where we are now with lots of time having run off the clock and not much to show for it. so what do the three efforts at addressing the national debt have in common besides failure? by the way, i could say four efforts if i include the bipartisan senate gang of six. here is the answer. none has resulted in a definitive congressional vote. after over 19 months of work on arguably the most important issue of the day, voters next november currently lack a score card. we cannot assess our individual members' behavior in office on the most important issue facing the nation. sure, we can paint w